Are You Happy?
Politics and Activism

Are You Happy?

Why are we afraid to be authentic?

Jessica Winans
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
C.G. Jung

Authenticity is dead and has become replaced with superficiality based on outward appearances alone. I feel as if it has become evident that people have forgotten what exactly it means to be human. With the fake eyelashes, hair extensions, tans. Exercising and eating healthy not for health reasons but for vanity. Playing "cool" in terms of our feelings towards others--yes we are all guilty of it. I know I am. But why do we do this?

A human, is by nature--authentic.

In our pure, raw state, makeup-free and naked, which for many of us is only immediately after we step out of the shower (for some, not even then), we are just humans. Humans with thoughts, emotions, intentions, hearts, brains, and blood pumping through our bodies.

But for some reason, we are constantly trying to fight this--not only superficially, but emotionally, too. We live our lives with our guards up, always refusing to become intimate with those close to us--hiding our feelings for others when they arise, choosing to leave relationships before we get "tied down" or "whipped," ignoring texts, leaving people on "read" to act like we don't care, purposely avoiding eye contact with those around us, creating problems which don't exist when things seem to be "too good to be true." This isn't just the case for our romantic relationships, but our friendships, too.

This time last year, I fought my feelings tooth-and-nail. I planned to be Pre-med, and told everyone I was dead-set on becoming a doctor. Doctors make a lot of money, I thought to myself, and I knew I wanted to make a lot of money. I had been surrounded by those with financial issues during my youth and prioritized making money over happiness. While I struggled to obtain a C+ in Physics and Chemistry, I flourished in my English courses--my professor raising an eyebrow at me when I told her I was a Biology/Pre-med major.

Let me tell you something: the day I changed my major to what I had always wanted to do since high school--journalism, was one of the best days of my entire life. I remember walking into Blodgett Hall, the home of the communications department at Adelphi, and feeling instantly at home. My adviser was the chairman of the department and greeted me with a warm welcome. As my class schedule changed from Physics and Chemistry, to Introduction to News-writing and Spanish, I felt the elephant that had been sitting on my chest lift.

That same semester, I worked my actual ass off--and loved every single second of it. I was published on the front page of my local paper, The Times Union (which resulted in being offered an internship there), became Editor in Chief of The Odyssey Online at Adelphi University, was offered my own blog for the Times Union, became an intern at Emerging Market Views (which is a project of one of my previous professors who offered me the position), started a job as a student reporter for Adelphi's Office of Public Affairs, and was recently offered the position of a writer/video producer at Two-Buttons-Deep.

I know, I kind of sound cocky. However, I reassure you I'm not. Of course I'm not the best writer in the world. I probably won't win a Pulitzer any time soon. I commute 45 minutes because I love my school so much. I am constantly stressed--my days are always booked at least 12-hours in advanced, sometimes people comment awful things on my articles and blog posts like "you're a terrible writer," and what not, and I literally have $0.53 in my bank account.

But what I can also tell you, is that I have never been this happy in my entire life. Because for the first time in a long time, I am being 100% myself.

Why are we so scared to reveal ourselves, to let ourselves fall in love, to go to school for what we actually WANT to do, or to let our connections to those around us deepen? Why are we so terrified of being intimate, raw, and HUMAN?

Maybe it's because becoming vulnerable makes us authentic. And being authentic makes us vulnerable. And being vulnerable makes us susceptible to pain, to being hurt.

We don't want to wear our hearts on our sleeves, live paycheck to paycheck, go makeup-free or just say 100% what is on our minds all the time, because if we do that we can be hurt.

But, when we do this, when we live unauthentic lives, we miss out on the the beauty which is the human race. When we dehumanize ourselves, we are denying the amazing things life has to offer like falling in love with someone, getting butterflies in your stomach when you see them, wanting to scream at the top of our lungs because we finally got that stupid article we wrote a month ago published--things like the sensation felt from sitting outside and just letting the sun graze your skin, and allowing the sounds of the wind consume you as it passes by you.

C.G. Jung once said, "the privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are," which leads me to ask you this: Are you truly being yourself, or are you conforming to the societal norms which constrict you?

And finally, are you happy?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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